Translating Your Military Skills Into a Civilian Resume

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Translating Your Military Skills Into a Civilian Resume

For many service men and women once they leave the military and head off to the private sector they have trouble translating military skills into civilian skills on their resumes. This can be especially troubling if you have served many long years in the military and are used to the acronyms and terms that are associated with military life. In some instances, you may not even know the civilian equivalent. But filling your resume with a lot of military jargon will be as complicated for a potential employer to understand as a resume handed in that is written in another language. So what do you do?

First of all, don’t panic. For every position and job in the military there are ways to translate those into civilian life, you just have to know how to speak the language. Here are some ways to go from a military mindset to a civilian tone:

o Don’t use acronyms: When including your military skills in your resume, don’t use acronyms. You may know that an E-5 means that you have direct command over five others, but to the laymen it is just a letter and a number. Instead of writing an acronym, say what it means and describe how you accomplished the feat.

o Translate terms: There are many terms that are simply military terms and the general public, including the person reading your resume, will have no idea what those terms mean. If you were in charge of the mess hall on a submarine and you put that down you may have someone thinking you were in charge of keeping a messy place in order. Instead write that you where the head chief in the dining hall as this will translate better in civilian terms. Another example would be translating battalion into 250 personnel.

o Translate rank: Rank can be very confusing when it comes to the military. A captain in one branch is going to be higher that another. Instead of stating your rank in military terms, try translating it into civilian terms. For example, instead of Commander use Supervisor, or instead of Lt. Colonel, use Executive Vice President.

o Match up your skills: Many times the job title that you were handed in the military will need to be translated and matched to civilian skills in order for the reviewer of your resume to understand what it is you did. For example if you were to say on your resume that you were a tank and weapons operator that dug ditches, you probably won’t get too far. However, if you dig deeper and list all those that you may have been in charge of training and how many people -troops- you supported in various countries and how your personal skills include logistics and operations, you are now not only sounding a lot better on the resume, but you are accurately describing your skills to the potential employer in civilian terms.

While you may never quite get used to civilian terms it is very important that you use them on your military resume to help you be sure that you get the best possible job that you deserve once it is time for you to live a civilian life.

Translating Your Military Skills Into a Civilian Resume

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